View Full Version : Is the 870 Police worth it?

November 30, 2006, 12:27 PM
Hello all, just joined the forums and have a question...

I'm getting ready to buy my first shotgun, and want either the Express HD, Marine Magnum, or Police. This will be for HD, camping, and skeet/clay (I'll be buying a 26" or 28" barrel too). I don't bird hunt, but may at some point. I've read a good number of threads on Express vs Police and understand that the Police is built to a higher quality and is meant to take more abuse. However, I'm not planning on abusing it; I'm more concerned with how well it functions and dependability when it matters.

So, my question is, would it be of any practical benefit for me to shell out the extra $150 for a slightly used Police over a new Express HD? Thanks

November 30, 2006, 02:08 PM
I too was in the same dilemma. Pay $280 for a Synthetic Express 7 shot or pay $465 for an 870P 4407. I ultimately went with the police model. 1) it comes parkerized vs the more rust-prone finish on the Synthetic (or any Express), 2) IC barrel vs no choke (not a huge difference, but a difference none-the-less) and 3) since I will probably have this gun forever, I figured the cost difference over time was worth it to get the more durable and presumably better made 870 and I had budgeted enough for the police model.

If you want to start out with less out of pocket expense, you can get a basic 4899 (wood furniture, blued, no mag extension, bead sight) for about $380 and then add whatever you want down the road.

Having said that, an Express will more than likely offer a lifetime of trouble-free service.

However, I just think that when a bad guy breaks into my house, his insides will certainly turn to jelly when he sees that my 870 says "Police Magnum" instead of just "Express Magnum!" ;)

November 30, 2006, 04:44 PM
The older 870s and the newer Police Models are IMO in a different league than the Express models. I had an express model for a while. It was a gritty and cheap feel and it would actually jam up on me. I also bought a 1956 Riot Run 870 that is slicker than deer snot and is of much better quality. I don't plan on abusing my weapons either, but the added quality is noticable and worth the extra money.

A cheaper way to go is to buy an older used 870. You might have to parkerize it and add any accessories that you want. But it would be better than a new Express, unless it was heavily abused.

November 30, 2006, 05:31 PM
Those Expresses get better with usage. They smooth out.

November 30, 2006, 07:08 PM
I went through the same thought process about 2 years ago -- get an express, new or used and toy with it, add just what I wanted and maybe do some of the work myself or send it off to the gunsmith, or just get and 870P

I went the police route and could not be happier, The P guns do not have the plastic trigger guard and the J lock thing, and the fit, finsh and quality has been first rate. Furthermore I find that the pakerized finish is very durable and wonder why more modern guns don't come with it.

For me, the fact that it had the metal tirgger guard with no stupid lock and already had a mag extenshion and the sights I wanted easily made up for the price differance as I'd have had to add or live with these thihgs anyway. The better fit and finsih was the kicker that put it over the top.

Now that I have decided to once again own a semi-auto shotgun (had a Benelli back in the HK days) as well I went with a police model again.

November 30, 2006, 08:19 PM
Love the Marine Magnum. I take that thing camping and such and its great. I have shot skeet with it a few times and did really well. I used federal 3" turkey golds and the skeet turned to dust in mid air. The electroless nickle makes a great all weather anti-rust finish and looks nice. Good luck with your choice

November 30, 2006, 10:28 PM
Thanks for the advice. To make my decision a little more complicated, I took a second look at the 870 Police I was thinking of getting. At first I thought $419 was a good deal for a slightly used 870P, but then I realized that it has the bead sights, no extended magazine tube, I think it's the matte finish, and it is more scuffed up than I first noticed. And it may just be me, but I would swear the trigger guard felt plastic. At the very least, it was noticably warmer to the touch than the receiver. That had me a little confused... Anyway, it looks like if I go with the Police, I'll need to keep looking for a good deal.

I agree the Marine Magnum is very nice. I looked at one last time I was at a Bass Pro Shop, and had a really hard time putting it back down.

November 30, 2006, 11:44 PM
Trigger guard is made of aluminum and not the same steel of the reciever. That may be why it belt different.

December 1, 2006, 08:50 AM
Ahh, that explains it.

Something else I was wondering, if I end up getting the Express, is it better to get the Express HD then buy something like a 28" Rem Choke barrel, or get one with the 28" barrel and then buy an 18", or does it really make any difference other than the mag extension?

Also, is it still easy to change out barrels with the longer mag tube?

Thanks again

December 1, 2006, 09:32 AM
MUCH cheaper, for ten bucks go on ebay a buy an aluminum trigger ass. if it bothers you. I bought an express new in 1992 (all metal), my express is just as slick as any wingmaster i've tried, the secret......take that sucker out an SHOOT IT....a lot.....they definately slick up over time. Maybe I'm just too cheap...but for my money the express at over $250 cheaper was a better deal....Your result may vary..

Also IMHO the plastic trigger is probably more resilient to hard use that the aluminum one is, and I have the aluminum one!

The express is also, no more likely to rust than any other, blued firearm....you just need to know how to how to protect metal from moisture.

Lee Lapin
December 3, 2006, 04:20 PM
I've been shooting 870s for about 40 years now and have never owned a new one. Shop around for a good used Wingmaster- even a 2 3/4" chambered gun will do all you need to do. There are tons of used 870 barrels around, it should be pretty easy to find what you want to put on your gun. Any other accessory you will likely need is available for 870s and few of them require the attention of a gunsmith to mount, if you are at all handy with tools. And it'll likely save you money in the long run. My last used Wingmaster was a Magnum model I ran across a few months ago, it was $150 out the door. Oh, it needed a really good cleaning inside and out, but it looks pretty good now for a gun that started life in the field in 1976... Cinderella 870s are often great deals.


December 4, 2006, 06:22 PM
I have been told that the springs in the P are heavier and parts are made of heavier stuff. Don't know but I am looking around for one to buy, and I think I have a bead on it.

December 4, 2006, 08:29 PM
Are they worth it?

In a word, yes.

But it depends on your budget.

December 6, 2006, 08:46 PM
Wasn't worth the added expense for me. Been through the pouring S.E. Alaska rains, and it still looks perty. I might be tempted to extol the virtues of the Police Magnum, but there isn't anything lacking on the Express I bought. It is not blued in a traditional blueing, it's pretty thick and a more matted black. I put a limbsaver R3 pad on it, and a sling. I sure like it for it's intended purpose.

December 7, 2006, 12:16 PM
Buy an express, 20" rifle sight with tubes. Three chokes vs one is a no-brainer.

December 7, 2006, 01:59 PM
A cheaper way to go is to buy an older used 870. You might have to parkerize it and add any accessories that you want. But it would be better than a new Express, unless it was heavily abused.

I agree with that. You can find older wingmasters all day long for under $200. Get a 18" barrel and a extension tube anda speedfeed or Knoxx stock and you are good to go. Older Wingmasters and the P models are smoother IMHO.

That said I own a 870P. I picked up my used 870 Police for under $275.


December 9, 2006, 11:42 PM
I would get the longer barreled one for sport shooting. The police models are cool for plinking and home defense ,but I don't care much for them for sporting use unless that is all you have. I would use my police for deer hunting if I ever hunt in shotgun only area as it is the only 12 ga I have. I thinned the shotgun inventory a bit a while back as I was not shooting them.

December 11, 2006, 10:35 PM
Important differences between Remington 870 Police and 870 Express shotguns
The 870 Express has been an important part of Remington’s offering to the sporting market.
It was designed to meet a price point in the commercial market while still providing classic 870 functionality.
All of Remington’s 870’s have interchangeable parts, even if they have cosmetic differences.
It is also important to note that many manufacturers use the 870 Express platform for their Police / Combat models.
Without exception, every manufacturer who utilizes our 870 platform serves to upgrade their system to a more efficient, street worthy platform.
While the 870 Express is still an 870, the best pump shotgun on the market, there are some very important cosmetic and functional differences between it and the 870 Police.
To our customers in Law Enforcement, Military, Corrections, and Security, whose lives depend upon the unfailing performance of Remington shotguns, the Police modifications are of paramount importance. Synopses of the variances are provided below.

• 870 Police shotguns go thru a special 23 station check list – ranging from visual inspection, functional testing, test firing, and final inspection.

• All Police shotguns are assembled in a “special build area” at the plant in Ilion, NY. This section is secured and serves only to build LE and Military shotguns, with the same factory personnel working at that assignment each shift.

• All parts that enter the “special build area” are visually inspected by hand to ensure top quality and functionality.

• Due to heavy recoil in buck and slug loads, all 870 Police guns have a longer magazine spring which ensures positive feed and function.

• A heavier sear spring is used to generate a reliable, positive trigger pull between 5 and 8 lbs.

• A heavier carrier dog spring is used to ensure when the carrier elevates the shell, it will be held there until the bolt can push it into the chamber. This ensures positive feeding when using heavier payload rounds.

• Police shotguns do not have an ISS (Integrated Safety System) which is a locking mechanism on the safety of commercial shotguns. This type of locking mechanism can cause delay to an officer who needs the weapon but does not have the appropriate key. LE shotguns have the standard, proven, cross bolt safety.

• The fore-end on the Express model is longer and not compatible with many police shotgun vehicle racks.

• The Police shotguns utilize the heavy duty SPEEDFEED Stocks and Fore-ends.

• The Express model will not allow for the addition of an extension tube without physical modification to the tube and barrel, which can nullify the warranty.

• The Express model has a BEAD BLAST BLUE finish while the Police models utilize either High Luster bluing or Parkerization.

• The Express model utilizes a synthetic trigger housing while the Police models use a compressed metal housing.

• The Police shotgun barrel is locked down with a “ball detent” system in conjunction with the magazine cap vs. a lesser grade “synthetic magazine spring retainer” lock down as used on the Express system.

• The receivers used in Police guns are “vibra honed” to smooth out rough finishes and remove burrs before parkerization or bluing.

• Police shotguns use machined ejectors and extractors, as opposed to powdered metal cast which are utilized on the Express models.


December 12, 2006, 12:30 AM
Like I said, they're worth it. ;)

December 12, 2006, 01:17 AM
• The Police shotguns utilize the heavy duty SPEEDFEED Stocks and Fore-ends.
That's a strange statement as my Police model has a wood stock (alas, not walnut) and a wood forend.

December 12, 2006, 01:20 AM
also, from their current website
So I'm jus wondering about the overall veracity of the information in Chard's post

December 12, 2006, 02:04 AM
I have an 870 police and an 870 express and all that is said about the police model in Chard's post is correct...you're right though, some do come with the wood stocks.

Running Gunfight
December 14, 2006, 06:50 PM
I started with an express as I didn't have much $$ when I bought. It came with an 18" tube and extended mag (7 rounds).

As of now, the following has been done:

Specter sling
Tacstar sidesaddle
Speedfeed foregrip and Knoxx specops stock
wilson combat mag spring and follower

Soon, I will be changing out the locking safety for a rem non locking. Also on the list (potentially) is changing out the trigger assembly, but my Glock 19s entire frame is made of plastic, and it wears hard, so I am not worried.

A couple more internal springs and it will basically be a police model. I have put about 1000 rounds through and it is pretty smooth. No hitches either.

I am up in the air about putting ghost rings on it as I might be getting the fed tag and switching to a 14" rod. No sense in dropping the bucks on the sights if they won't be around for long. The bead with white nail polish does fine at buckshot range.

December 14, 2006, 10:11 PM
This will be for HD, camping, and skeet/clay

well it looks that it wouldnt be VERY ABUSED.... I guess any "good" quality gun would do great. need not be the expensive police model..